Meaningful participation by landowners needed

Landowner’s of resource rich areas must be engaged meaningfully and participate in the oil and gas projects to off-set downturn in royalties caused by falling oil prices.

Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) Managing Director, Augustine Mano, said this on Tuesday during the Inaugural Petroleum and Energy Summit in Port Moresby.

Mano told existing and potential investors that equitable participation across the value chain of projects was needed to off-set falling oil prices which significantly affected royalty payments for landowners.

He highlighted 2016 and how low commodity prices and forex issues significantly affected landowner royalties.

“For the landowners of the PNGLNG Project, the difficulties is in the royalties. What do you think the royalty will be like? It will be less  than a million. Equitable benefits will be very, very low than 2014 and 2015,” Mano said.

“I have the difficult task of explaining to them why they are getting less. It’s not an easy task to face the landowners and explain to them the commodity price.

“That is where meaningful participation in power generation, pipeline ownership, and LNG Shipment is necessary to make up for the impact for the oil price and contribute also in a small way to relieve forex that we are all talking about in this country,” he added.

Maso said a Gas Master Plan is essential so that all stakeholders, whom landowners are part of, will participate and have equitable benefit.

He said without such a plan, the country, state companies and landowners cannot properly plan their investments and interests in the oncoming oil and gas projects and be another hindrance.

Cedric Patjole